It was invented about 3000 years ago.
Most historians place the roots of hockey in the northern Europe, Great Britain and France where field hockey was a popular summer sport more than 500 years ago. An ice game known as kolven was popular in Holland in the 17th century and later the game were in England.
No one knows for sure who invented hockey, but games using sticks and balls have been around for 3,000 years. A Greek statue from 500 B.C. depicts men playing a hockey-like game. When the Romans conquered the Greeks, they spread this ancient hockey game to many parts of the world. In England during the Middle Ages (A.D. c. 450–c. 1500), the royal family outlawed the playing of hockey because it distracted men from practicing archery, which was needed to protect the nation. In the 1400s field hockey played on grass became popular, and in Holland and Scandinavia (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland) in the 1600s people played a hockey-like game on ice. European settlers brought hockey with them to North America, but they also found the Native Americans playing a game with sticks on a frozen pond.
In Canada hockey games were regular entertainment as early as the 1840s. When mass-produced ice skates went on sale in the 1860s, hockey became even more popular, with teams of twenty to thirty players trying to bat a puck through a goal that was made of two sticks jammed through holes in the ice. Players made their own sticks from tree branches, until hockey sticks were mass-produced at the turn of the century. The puck could be made from almost anything, a pinecone, a rubber ball, a tin can. The first organized hockey games started in Kingston, Ontario, but it did not take long for the sport to organize throughout Canada. In 1881 two college students at McGill University created a rule book for play, and the game came to resemble modern hockey. In 1885 Kingston, Ontario, became the site of the first actual hockey league, the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada, with four teams. In the 1890s Americans became interested in Canada's favorite sport and formed a hockey league in New York City. Teams in Canada and the United States became professional organizations, that is, began paying their players, in the late 1890s.
Further Information: Fischler, Stan. "A Century of ProHockey." Sport. March, 1999, p. 48; Hunter, Douglas. Champions: The Illustrated History of Hockey's Greatest Dynasties. New York: Reed, 1997; National Hockey League. [Online] Available http://www.nhl.com, October 23, 2000; Stewart, Mark. Hockey: A History of the Fastest Game on Ice. New York: Franklin Watts, 1998.